O N E
W A R N I N G: This book is intended for mature audiences and contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and scenes of BDSM. Read only if the above themes do not offend you. You’ve been warned.
This book is unedited so you will find some grammatical errors/misspellings.
A U R O R A
17 years old, past
I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, clutching the torn backpack like my life depended upon it. Actually, my life did depend on it. The men following me were no saints–actually criminals if I didn’t know any better.
Two days back when I strolled inside the abandoned building looking for a shelter and accidentally discovered the basement where the stash of drugs was kept and guarded, I thought if I could steal some for myself, it would at least be able to pay for my food for the next month. So, I waited for a couple of days for an opportunity and managed to steal few packets so that I could sell some.
I wasn’t a drug addict but I knew that selling these would definitely earn me some bucks.
And I needed them, desperately.
I had been hoping from homeless shelter to shelter for the past year, hiding from the police and every goddamn person who were eager to exploit a seventeen-year-old girl. I might have been an orphan and homeless but I wasn’t helpless.
At an early age I learned it in a hard way that fairy tales didn’t exist, there’s no knight in shining armor and Hogwarts’ magic only existed in J. K. Rowling books.
You only help yourself and save yourself—no one else was coming to save you.
And here I was—running for my life to survive another month without starving.
I was running on autopilot by now, completely breathless and frantic. A few minutes ago, I was shivering in cold and now beads of sweat crowded my forehead as I sprinted through the alley. I hadn’t realized how numb my leg muscles were until I suddenly slammed into a human wall of solid muscles. And before I could even glance up, something pungent was pressed against my nose and the world went completely dark.
The next time I woke up I found myself on the cold floor, the backpack of stolen goods gone. Forcing my eyes open, as the blurriness cleared, I looked around. The place was like a prison cell, except too dirty and reeked of blood. Even the splatter of dried crimson on the walls was prominent. It almost looked like a slaughterhouse. There were only an iron door and no windows–not even a ventilator.
The winter was unforgiving this year, coupled with rainfall. And this prison—or whatever it was— was frozen hell. Dragging myself towards the door, I tried banging a few times but there wasn’t a single peep from the other side.
Aching, hungry and cold—I pulled my knees to my chest, wrapped the arms around and buried my head, almost defeated. No matter how much I tried to fall asleep, I simply couldn’t–dreading what I had in store for me when that door opens.
It was probably hours later that I heard shuffling of feet and instantly my head snapped. Intuitively, I reached back to clutch the knife tucked behind the back of my tattered, old jeans. It was rather small but for me, it was perfect.
It was the only weapon I could afford.
For a girl who killed her alcoholic, abusive father, who saw her own mother getting beaten up and killed and someone who escaped a prison—there was still a lot of fight left in me to survive what was to come when that door unlocks.
I crawled to the side of the door and couched down as sore, cold fingers clutched the handle of the knife—ready to spring into action. For what it’s worth, I’d still try and save myself.
Heartbeats drummed frantically and the instant the door swung open, my knife slashed the shin of the leg of the man. He tumbled down, clutching his legs. Another man behind him was a tad faster than the previous one, though. He quickly grabbed my free hand but the one holding the knife sliced through his biceps, drawing little blood.
But I didn’t get one more chance at escape.
The third man clutched the wrist of my knife–hand in a death-grip and twisted it so painfully that the weapon slipped away. He wasted no time in kicking the knife away across the room and far away from my eyesight even.
And now I was absolutely powerless and defenseless.
“Get my brother, now!” he gritted at the man who was bleeding from his biceps.
My captive’s attention snapped back to me as writhed and struggled to get away from his clutch. It was impossible–like I was trying to move some mountain. He towered over me, glaring me with his piercing blue eyes as I thrashed at his arm with my free hand. And when it was established that I was no match to his strength, I stopped.
Breathing hard, my knees gave away and dizziness kicked me down. Forget food, I couldn’t even remember the last time I had drank a glass of clean water. Cold and thirst parched my mouth inside out. Whatever little energy I had sailed away when the adrenaline kicked in and I lost the fight.
“Dominic, what happened?” Another towering figure of muscles walked in with a black leather jacket as I glanced through my eyelashes.
“We have a tiny problem here, Viktor,” the man who gripped my wrist in one hand and whose name was Dominic, I supposed, said coolly.
Viktor, the black leather jacket guy, strolled a little closer and spared me a look. “What is this?” he asked in disgust, almost ignoring the fact that I was a human being and not mere a bag of flesh.
“Little thief,” Dominic muttered, letting go of my wrist. “She was found stealing our drugs from the southern warehouse.”
I mentally snorted. He said ’our drugs′ as if it was some legitimate thing. If I was a criminal, he was too. Except he was a better one.
“It was a one-time thing,” I muttered low as both the men glanced down and arched a brow incredulously.
“What?” I questioned both of them.
Dominic smirked and looked at the other guy, Viktor, who wasn’t very keen on smiling. He wore a deadly blank expression that was almost impossible to decipher. Squatting down to my level, his eyes raked over my physical condition more intently than ever.
He pinched my chin between his fingers, imprisoning my gaze to his. “You are a junkie, girl?”
“No,” I answered harshly, swatting away his hand. Little did he know... Addiction was the least of my transgressions. “I wanted some money. I was hungry.”
“Are you really buying this story?” Dominic asked his brother.
Viktor didn’t answer nor did he nod or shake his head. He merely rose up to his height and looked around the room. The man whose leg I slashed was completely forgotten until Viktor pointed his finger and asked Dominic, “She did this?”
The brothers shared a silent look with their eyes and almost like they could read each other’s mind. The blue irises were common to them and so was their physique. Except for some features and the hair cut, one could easily see the resemblance they sported.
While they were busy having the telepathic conversation, from the corner of my eyes I saw that the door was still ajar. In this room, two men were busy while the other had his leg injured. What was the probability that if I attempted to run away that I would make it out of here alive?
My tryst with death had always been extremely bold and audacious.
The first time when my father was trying to beat the hell out of me, I fled.
The second time when the warden tried to rape me at the detention center, I fled too.
Would I be lucky the third time, as well?
There was only one way to find out.
Once again, I ran.
I raced through the door with every ounce of energy left inside my body. But the only problem was—it was a dead end. There was another door, same iron clad and no matter how much I huffed-and-puffed, it would not open.
Guess I wasn’t so lucky the third time.
“Are you done?” A voice rumbled from behind and I couldn’t tell which one of the brothers was it. Both of them kind of had a similar growl.
Slowly turning around, I saw Viktor and Dominic leaned against the doorway. Dominic looked pissed, he always was. But Viktor...he still had the deadpan expression etched across his mature manly face.
And no matter how much I fought to keep up the brave facade, it was slowly slipping away. Dying was one thing but painful death? I wasn’t yet ready for that. Every girl of my age dreamt to become something in life—may be a doctor, dancer, or a model. Everyone had plans to execute but my goal was to live another day.
A simple shelter—safe and protected—with basic food and clothing was my aspiration. And I was horribly failing to achieve that.
Growing up, I always had a special intuition for danger. And I could very well fathom if the danger was looking right into my eyes with a menacing glare. And right now, Viktor was doing exactly the same.
The gun holsters under both his arms and the knife sheathed around his waist spoke volumes about his personality or the profession he was involved in.
“Look...just...please. Please just...” I stammered without making any sense, my back scraping against the iron door. “Just...let me go. I won’t ever cross your path.”
“You stole my drugs. You attacked my men. You tried to escape.” Viktor smirked for the first time. Nothing was comical but ominous about it. “I have killed people for less.”
“I told you...I was just hungry. I thought stealing the drugs would get me some money. And I really needed the money.” The desperation in my voice came out effortlessly.
“What is your name, girl? And where are your parents?” he interrogated, still unmoved from where he was.
“My mother is dead.”
“I killed him,” I blurted out without any regret. I was not a sociopath. The day I stuck the vase at the back of his skull, all I wanted to do was save my mother. My alcoholic, abusive father later succumbed to the injuries.
Viktor looked somewhat surprised at my revelation but didn’t say a word.
“He was beating my mother,” I explained without being asked.
Dominic strode closer and grabbed me by the nape roughly. Neither could I resist the force nor did I wish to. He dragged me back to the same cold room, hurling me inside and towards the corner.
“What’s your name?” Dominic pressed.
“Full name?” And when I hesitated longer than intended, he growled, “Do not think of lying to us.”
Viktor typed something on his phone quickly and showed it to Dominic who furrowed his brows and looked at it with rapt attention. While their attention was occupied, I saw my knife–that Dominic kicked away–was a little away from my position.
But what was the point? I would be a fool to believe that I could stand a chance against both of them, even with a gun.
“You killed a prison guard?” Viktor’s voice made my head shot up.
I shrugged. “He was trying to...rape me. And then I escaped from there.”
“Bloody hell,” Dominic muttered and shook his head.
Viktor and Dominic were criminals–some sort of gang I presumed, dealing with drugs. So, did I just escape from one devil’s lair to end up dead in another?
“Pick it up,” Viktor ordered as I glanced up questioningly, and he jerked his chin towards the knife.
Shit! He saw me. He saw it right through me and I couldn’t even deny it. My gaze simply darted between the knife and his blue orbs.
Was he testing me? Was he going to pull his gun out the moment I would grab the knife?
“I said it PICK IT UP!” he snapped loudly making me jump.
Gingerly, I crawled forward with bruised knees and picked up the knife. Cold and anticipation shook my body while my breathing labored. Even in my toughest moment, I wished–I prayed–for a miracle that I would survive this, no matter how impossible it seemed.
“On your feet. Up!” he ordered with the same snappy tone.
Ignoring the fear and hunger painfully knotting my stomach, I slowly stood up on my shaking legs.
Viktor was tough to figure out. His clinical expression gave away none and you won’t know whether he was going to kill you or let you go. He was calm—dangerously, mysteriously and darkly composed.
“I will give you two choices. Either I kill you–quickly and painlessly or take a shot at me with the knife and earn your freedom. Three minutes. Within three minutes if you can put a scratch on me, I will let you walk out of here—in one piece.”
“And what if I...I couldn’t put a scratch on you? Would you kill me then?” I asked, holding my breath.
He smirked. “Winner’s choice,” he declared. “Now tell me—what’s your choice?”
Death was never a choice for me. I wanted to live.
I knew saving myself from this situation was near impossible but I would rather die trying. That was all I was left with—my fighting spirit and I didn’t come so far to back down.
I met his eyes with a determined look. “I will fight you.”